Gaining Experience During Study for International Students in the UK

So you have arrived here in the UK for your undergraduate or masters programme and have aspirations to gain experience during study and or work in the UK after you complete your course.

Here are a few tips to make the most of your time in the UK and boost your CV with great experience.27785620_10155057023561237_464589738_o

  1. Join a club or society that is relevant to your field of study such as Med Soc, the marketing club, the business society, the engineering society and there are many more. Or join a club that will give you the skills or enhance your current skills such as the drama society, debating club, public speaking or a sports team. The skills you gain by participating in these clubs and societies are appreciated by employers including communication, organisational, team work skills.
  2. Get a part-time job while studying. An employer respects a graduate who has managed to balance work and study and can appreciate the skills gained from those roles which may include service roles, customer service, hospitality etc. You can get advice on your CV and on applying for these roles through the Careers Service. International students can work up to 20 hours per week on their Tier 4 visa. For more information on working during study and how to get a National Insurance number to legally work in the UK see our website
  3. Volunteer during your study for a good cause and gain some valuable experience. Please not volunteering counts towards your 20 hours a week working allowance as per your Visa. You can find out about volunteering opportunities through our jobs and events portal CareersLink or through the Volunteering Office.
  4. Vacation time is a great time to get experience in your chosen industry in the UK or back home. Some companies offer Spring Weeks in Easter to allow students to experience working for their organisation on a short term basis and under some circumstances this can be a great time to demonstrate your skills and abilities. If working during vacation periods in the UK undergraduates can work full time during Christmas, Easter and Summer vacations, Postgraduates full time during Christmas and Easter only as the Summer is considered term time to finish your dissertation or final project. Consider getting experience in your home country during this time as well as this is just as valuable as getting experience in the UK.
  5. Employer events and skills sessions are a great way to meet employers and discover what these organisations have to offer. It may be a company, job role and in some cases sector you haven’t considered before but you discover it really appeals to you. These events are a great way to meet employers and understand the types of jobs on offer, the company culture and to network so that if you do apply for a job with them anywhere in the world you can demonstrate on your application you met representatives of their organisation on campus. This shows an employer you are keen and career minded. You can find employer talks, presentations, skills sessions and recruitment sessions on CareersLink.
  6. Career Fairs are another great way to meet employers but be aware in the UK most (not all) employers are targeting UK and EU students although there are international fairs taking place on campus and around the country hiring international students into roles around the world. That being said it is still a great way to meet employers learn about their company and get some insight into the kinds of skills etc they are looking for and use this information when applying. Remember the company of your dreams may not hire international students in the UK but most will consider a strong candidate in their regional offices overseas so making a great impression can benefit you. Moving to the UK or overseas can be a longer term plan but not impossible. Consider alternatives.
  7. Internships offer fantastic experience mostly for undergraduates as they tend to take place over the summer months when postgraduates are studying. These can lead to opportunities with organisations after graduation and look great on your CV. Don’t rely on the mass internship schemes advertised by the large organisations as smaller companies do have internships during vacation that you can apply to and these can be found online via LinkedIn and CareersLink
  8. Placements as part of your programme look great on your CV and can help to improve opportunities for you after graduation potentially with the employer you were placed with or another in the sector. Getting on to a programme with a placement year can give you invaluable experience.

It really is important that you make the most of your time here in the UK as this will be a key question asked by employers in the UK and overseas. Employers are looking for graduates who have experienced more than academia, who understand team work, responsibility, can balance work and study and can be competitive in this very crowded graduate market.

Lastly we are here to help you along your journey through university and into your first graduate job. Come and see us in the Careers Service, get advice, have a chat and hopefully we can work together to help you make the most of your time here in the UK.

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